Two hundred ninety-five graduates crossed the stage May 27 at Thomas Jefferson High School’s commencement.
The class of 2022 at this campus had a far from traditional high school experience between a tornado demolishing their home campus in 2019 and displacing them to a deconditioned middle school to the pandemic hitting not long after.
Despite hardships, the ceremony opened with remarks from senior class president Perla Arredondo, who shared how much fun the class has had over the last four years.
“Thank you for the unconditional support and love,” Arredondo said.
Next up was Principal Benjamin Jones, who said the class made him into a better educator, leader, and person through their insights and by holding him accountable. He also shared that the class earned a collective total of $11.2 million in scholarships.
“If you ever feel stuck, know your TJ family is only a phone call away,” Jones said. “We will always be here to support you.”
Salutatorian Alex Vasquez Hernandez emphasized the class’ resilience through relocating campuses, navigating COVID-19, and just adjusting to high school in general.
“What we did as a class will be in history books forever,” Vasquez Hernandez said. “[…] We set the bar high.”
Valedictorian Jessica Ramirez was the last student to provide words of encouragement during the ceremony, requesting that if the graduates ever feel like giving up, to “remember the people in this room.”
She shared a quote from an artist that she deemed meaningful, especially because at the beginning of her senior year, she did not know what was next for her.
“Everything will work out,” she shared as part of the quote. “All of your dreams will come true. And if you don’t have a dream that’s OK too. It’s possible to not have a dream. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters.”